THE IMPORTANCE OF OSINT IN THE PROCESS OF ASSET RECRUITMENT
HUMINT, or Human Intelligence, has long been used by the intelligence community around the world to collect and gain intimate information derived for a broad array of topics. Due to the pure nature of this type of intelligence, establishing a credible and trustworthy source and maintaining the relationship with him is of the essence. Traditionally, intelligence and law enforcement agencies had to invest extensive time and resources in identifying the ideal “assets” or “agents” for recruitment, however, modern technology has altered the way they can find potential recruitments. As more information concerning an individual’s life, both personal and professional become available on the web, intelligence and law enforcement agencies are turning to OSINT as a preliminary step to surface, investigate, profile, approach and build a relationship with potential intelligence assets.
OSINT: A GATEWAY TO RECRUITING A HUMINT ASSET
To recruit an ideal candidate, human Intelligence recruiters need to understand the accessibility of the potential agent to the targets, as well as the motivations and the means for developing a relationship with the agent and later for the recruitment itself. OSINT can help doing so by mapping the target to understand the environment, spotting people with access to the programs or information they are attempting to collect, enriching the data regarding the potential candidates with their interests, social activities, contact details, and locations and finally to engage with the agent to create a relationship.
SURFACING A PERSON OF INTEREST
Due to a lack of information regarding specific technologies, the investigators searched for an ideal candidate, one that can shed light from the inside, as an employee of a specific company. Employing proprietary technology available through the ProFound™ platform, the investigators collected data from all the web . The results were analyzed, and a concrete list of companies of interest compiled for further analysis. Recognizing the potential intelligence value of skilled employees of these companies, the investigators used the ProBot™ to collect data regarding each company, including its website, employees that are mentioned in the company’s LinkedIn page and other sources. As most companies publicly display basic details, job titles, and contact information for company management, the investigators rapidly collected a list of potential “assets” for further investigation.
An important step in the process of finding the ideal candidate is filtering all the possible candidates based on pre-defined criteria. ProFound™ platform’s entity extraction capabilities enabled investigators to structure the data more effectively and filter it by using additional processing tools. Wide search collection was conducted using the surface, deep and dark web, providing the investigators a detailed overview of each potential candidate. Considering that there might be lower profiled individuals with access to the same type of information, the investigators focused on mid-level company employees with relevant work experience. One specific employee’s overall profile stood out, making him the ideal candidate for recruitment.
In order to create a deep understanding of the candidates world and needs, A full intelligence report regarding the individual was created using ProFiler™. A deeper analysis of his social media presence provided intelligence officers with further insight into his hobbies, family life, and events attended. The investigators then used this intelligence to map out his potential travels, event appearances and social media accounts and used it to plan the recruitment process.
Starting from a broad search and through analysis using Digital Clues’ full suite of OSINT products, the investigators were able to identify potential candidates for recruitment and to collect information regarding these targets. During this investigation, Digital clues platforms analyzed tens of thousands of data points, all of this was done in a matter of hours, dramatically reducing the time of the investigation from days or weeks.
In case the investigators now wish to actively engage with the target, they possess all the information and tools needed to do it, either through online engagement or other methods.
LEVERAGING OSINT FOR ASSET RECRUITMENT
Recruiting the right agent, to be placed in the right place and on the right time is a form of art. Until recent years, the process of finding the ideal candidate for recruitment required the use of many resources and took significant and precious time. Using OSINT tools can facilitate the process, make it a lot more efficient and surfacing better potential candidates with access to relevant information. As demonstrated by the case outlined above, intelligence agencies can use OSINT to collect information on possible candidate for recruitment, to filter their attributes to find the ideal candidate and then to map the target and its environment. OSINT can also be used to engage with the target to create a relationship.